A Big Unit special

Any time a 40-year-old, 6-foot-10 guy throws a perfect game, it's time for an emergency Randy Johnson edition of the Useless Information Department:

Useless Long-Time-Ago Information

  • How long has it been since Johnson's last no-hitter? In between, he did all this:

    -- Won 219 games.
    -- Won five Cy Youngs.
    -- Won games in 38 different parks.
    -- Pitched 2,921 2/3 innings.
    -- Allowed more home runs (260) than Joe Torre hit in his whole career (252).
    -- And struck out 3,725 hitters -- more than all but three other pitchers who ever lived (Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens and Steve Carlton).

  • Other stuff that happened in between Big Unit no-hitters:

    -- There were 35 no-hitters thrown by other people.
    -- Barry Bonds hit 574 home runs -- but was on the wrong end of two no-hitters.
    -- Roger Clemens won 214 games -- but threw zero no-hitters.
    -- Trevor Hoffman saved 358 games -- none of them no-hitters.
    -- The Braves 1,309 regular-season games -- and were no-hit in none.
    -- The Tigers (the victims of the last Johnson no-hitter) lost 1,245 games -- but no no-hitters.

    Also ...

    -- Nineteen players got six hits in a game (or six more than the Braves got).
    -- Seven players had 30-game hitting streaks.
    -- Forty-one players hit for the cycle.
    -- CBS aired 1,002 editions of "60 Minutes" (counting "60 Minutes II").
    -- And the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7,033 points (from 2935 to 9968).

  • Ryan's first no-hitter was his 14th career win. His perfect game Tuesday was his 234th career win. Most wins in between no-hitters, according to the Elias Sports Bureau:

    -- Johnson, 1990-2004, 219
    -- Cy Young, 1897-1904, 169
    -- Pud Galvin, 1880-1884, 134
    -- Ted Breitenstein, 1891-1898, 118
    -- Nolan Ryan, 1981-1990, 105
    -- Bob Feller, 1946-1951, 104

  • Before the Unit did it, no pitcher had ever gone a decade between no-hitters, let alone nearly a decade and a half. (Nolan Ryan's nine seasons, between his 1981 and 1990 no-hitters, was the previous record.) But Johnson couldn't match Ryan in one category -- longest span between a pitcher's first and last no-hitter. He's one of only four to do that separated by at least 10 years:

    Longest span between first no-hitter and last
    Nolan Ryan -- May 15, 1973-May 1, 1991 (17 years, 11 months, 16 days)
    Randy Johnson -- June 2, 1990-May 18, 2004 (13 years, 11 months, 16 days)
    Bob Feller -- April 16, 1940-July 1, 1951 (11 years, 2 months, 15 days)
    Cy Young -- Sept. 18, 1897-June 30, 1908 (10 years, 9 months, 12 days)

    Useless Domination Information

  • It may be true that many great pitchers have never thrown a no-hitter. But it's no accident when a guy like this throws one.

    Besides his no-hitters, Johnson also has made 12 starts (of 5 IP+) in which he gave up one hit, 21 in which he gave up two hits and 45 in which he gave up three hits. So that's 80 starts in which he allowed three hits or fewer. Wow.

  • And those 13 strikeouts in his perfect game meant he now has punched out at least 13 hitters an amazing 64 times. That comes to 21 games with 13 strikeouts, 15 with 14, 14 with 15, seven with 16, three with 17, one with 18, two with 19 and one with 20. Phew.

  • Remember, in his previous start (May 12 vs. the Mets), Johnson allowed a home run to the first hitter of the game -- Kazuo Matsui. Starting with the second inning of that game, he has faced 47 hitters, allowed two to reach base and struck out 20.

  • And just in case anybody thinks he's slowing down, the East Valley Tribune's Ed Price reports that in his 12 starts since turning 40, Johnson has a one-hitter, a two-hitter and a perfect game. Not to mention hitting his first career homer.

    Useless Life-Begins-At-40 Info

  • Johnson was not only the first pitcher in his 40s to throw a perfect game. He was just the fourth pitcher over 35. The others, according to Elias:

    Johnson -- 40 yrs, 251 days
    Cy Young -- 37 years, 37 days
    David Cone -- 36 years, 197 days
    Dennis Martinez -- 36 years, 75 days

  • And the Unit was only the fourth 40-year-old to throw any kind of no-hitter. The others, courtesy of Elias:

    Nolan Ryan -- 44 years, 90 days
    Ryan -- 43 years, 131days
    Cy Young -- 41 years, 93 days
    Warren Spahn -- 40 years, 5 days

  • It's also not your every-day occurrence to see a pitcher throw a perfect game 234 wins into his career. In fact, only Cy Young owned more career wins than the Unit when he threw a perfect game. Here, courtesy of Elias, are the only six pitchers in history with at least 200 wins and a perfect game -- and how many games they won before their perfecto:

    Cy Young 380 (of 511)
    Johnson 233 (of 234)
    Catfish Hunter 32 (of 224)
    David Wells 110 (of 202)
    Jim Bunning 124 (of 224)
    Dennis Martinez 173 (of 245)

    Useless Cooperstown Information

  • As Joe Cowley, Bud Smith and Kevin Gross can attest, no-hitters don't make a guy an automatic Hall of Famer. But they sure get you bonus points. Not that Johnson needed them -- because here's where he ranks among all left-handers in the last half-century:

    Winning percentage (.665) -- 2nd (behind only Whitey Ford)
    Strikeouts (3,952) -- 2nd (behind only Steve Carlton)
    Wins (234) -- 6th (behind Carlton, Tommy John, Jim Kaat, Tom Glavine and Frank Tanana)
    Strikeout ratio (11.17 per 9 IP) -- 1st
    Opponent batting average (.214) -- 2nd (behind Sandy Koufax)
    Cy Youngs (5) -- 1st
    200-strikeout seasons (11) -- 1st
    250-strikeout seasons (8) -- 1st
    300-strikeout seasons (6) -- 1st
    18-win seasons (7) -- tied for second (with Carlton) behind Warren Spahn (9)

    And in the age of the five-man rotation, Johnson leads all left-handed starters in every one of these categories except wins (where he trails Glavine by 22).

  • So you can book this guy's reservation in Cooperstown right now. And once he arrives, he'll be the sixth Hall of Famer with a perfect game on his permanent record. The others:

    Cy Young
    Addie Joss
    Catfish Hunter
    Jim Bunning
    Sandy Koufax

  • Meanwhile, no one has ever pitched a perfect game and a second no-hitter without going on to make the Hall of Fame. The other four pitchers to do that:

    Sandy Koufax (1 perfect game, 3 other no-hitters)
    Jim Bunning (1 perfect game, 1 other)
    Addie Joss (1 perfect game, 1 other)
    Cy Young (1 perfect game, 2 others)

    And, Finally ...
    We can't overlook the Braves' role in the perfect-game festivities. After all, how many teams can say they were the victims of one pitcher's 18-strikeout game (Ben Sheets) and another's perfect game in back-to-back games?

    Well, that would be none -- not surprisingly.

    Elias' Ken Hirdt reports that the closest together any team had ever been ravaged for any kind of no-hitter and an 18-strikeout show (or more) was five days -- twice. Neither no-hitter was a perfect game, though. And two legendary left-handers were involved the other times, too.

    1969 Mets: Steve Carlton 19 K on Sept. 15, Bob Moose no-hitter Sept. 20.
    1952 Cubs: Warren Spahn 18 K on June 14, Carl Erskine no-hitter June 19.

    (One more reason this Braves feat blows away those two: Carlton and Spahn were both the losing pitchers in their big strikeout games.)

    Randy Johnson has had three seasons in his career in which he won 20 games and had an ERA lower than three. Only three other left-handers currently on active rosters have even had one season like that. Can you name them?

    ANSWER: Tom Glavine (three), Barry Zito (one) and Mike Hampton (one).

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Click here to send Jayson a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.